Pixelblaze Pillows: Light Up Your Upholstery With LEDs


The grid design drawn on the cases has a 5cm spacing but adjacent LEDs on the strings are 10cm apart. We’ll reconcile this difference by weaving the LED string into a pattern of two perpendicular zig-zag grids that overlap perfectly to place one LED at each grid intersection.


Each of the resin-encased LEDs has a distinct front and back side (Figure H). The back is a bit flatter and noticeably dimmer than the front. Be careful to place the LEDs front side upward when securing the string in the next steps.


To attach the matrix to your mesh pillowcase, you’ll use the double-wire twist ties. Do not use standard twist ties, as they will twist around and poke through the pillowcase. Using wire cutters or flush cutters, cut about 50 of the 10cm ties into approximately equal fourths about 2.5cm long (Figure I). Then, take the input end of the LED string and lay it along one of the border grid lines, aligning the LEDs with the intersections.


You’ll secure the LED string to the mesh case at regular intervals by wrapping it in a cut twist tie near one side of each LED. Don’t secure both sides of the LEDs because there must be enough slack to run part of the string underneath itself. Slide a cut twist tie through two adjacent holes which border the Sharpie line so that the tie is perpendicular to the string (Figure J). The tie is slightly wider than the holes, so you may have to pull the mesh taut and wiggle it a bit to slip it through.









Using pliers, sharply fold about one-quarter of the tie over the LED string (Figure K), then fold the opposite side of the tie extending from underneath the LED string to cover the first folded section (Figure L). With the pliers, bend and crease the remaining overhanging twist tie section back underneath the string and tie, pressing it firmly to grip the wires inside. Tuck the final short segment into the mesh under the string (Figure M on the previous page).



Proceed this way down the entire first row, placing one twist tie just before each LED (Figure N). At the end of the row, bend the string into a U-shaped turn and place the next LED in the closest adjacent row so that it is offset by one column from the previous LED (Figure O). Proceed to fill all the rows using this technique until half the LED string is attached to the case in a zig-zag pattern with one folded twist tie near each LED. The LEDs should sit at alternate grid intersections, so that the LEDs in each row are offset by one from their neighbors (Figure P). Double check that all LEDs have front sides oriented upward, away from the pillow.



The next step is to weave the second half of the string in and out of the attached rows. Start by turning the pillow 90 degrees, then lay the next loose portion of the string across the closest perimeter row. Fasten the next LED at the intersection nearest the pillow corner as shown in Figure Q.


Continue connecting the LED string along the rows like before, but slide the loose portion of LED string under each of the LEDs in perpendicular columns (Figure R) When you are finished, the LED string input/output connectors should extend from opposite pillow corners and the string will be woven into a pattern that looks like Figure S. You may wish to attach additional ties to affix any parts of the string that seem loose.



After the first LED matrix is secured to the mesh pillowcase, repeat the process with the second pillow and LED string. This step may take several hours but can easily be done while listening to a podcast or watching a TV show for distraction.

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